Austin Real Estate The Buying Process
The Home Buying Process
There Has Never Been A Better Time To Buy
The process of buying a home may seem complicated
when you've never done it before.
Here Are The Steps
1. Figure out how much you can afford
2. Shop for a home
3. Make an offer
4. Get a home inspection
5. Shop for a loan
6. Applying for your loan
7. Sign papers
8. Figure out how much money you need at settlement
Figure out how
much you can afford
What you can afford depends on your income, credit rating, current
monthly expenses, down payment and the interest rate. There are some
online tools you can use, and some tools that your real estate agent can
help you with
You should remember that prequalification (an informal estimate of how
much you might borrow) is just to give you a preliminary idea of what
you can afford, and to identify any major problems that you will want to
fix. It's not a guarantee that you will be approved for a loan-but you
will want to get pre-qualified to avoid any surprises.
Shop for a home
You may already have a general idea of where you'd like to live based on
where you're living now, where you grew up, where you have friends or
family or where you work. A local real estate agent can help you find
homes in that area.
A real estate agent is a great asset as he or she has the access to the
Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and can show you houses listed for sale.
It is efficient to have someone who has the expertise do the search for
you and guide you through the process. A real estate agent's commission
is usually paid by the seller, and therefore it usually does not cost
you to use one. There are exceptions, however, as in the case of For
Sale By Owner (FSBO
You are making a major investment.
Don't leave it in the hands of someone who does not know the area that
you want to move to or is very knowledgeable about selling single family
homes and not selling condos.
Knowledge and experience are two different things. There are
agents who understand the real estate business very well, just lack the
years of practice. Then there are real estate agents who have been at
the job for years, but know nothing more than showing the house, filling
out a contract form and escorting you to the closing. The number of
years an agent is in the real estate business may not say much about his
or her qualification as your agent. It is ideal to work with someone who
is both knowledgeable and experienced. If not, find one that is willing
to work with you, understands you needs and is honest. This can't be
emphasized enough. You need to find someone that you can trust with what
is probably the largest purchase of your life.
Wish list - what features do you want?
Make an offer
Discuss the process with your real estate agent. If
the seller does not accept your offer and makes a counter offer (rejects
all or part of your offer), you may need to bargain until you both agree
to the terms of the sale.
Get a home inspection
Buying a home is one of the most important
purchases you will make in your life, so protect yourself by making sure
that the home you want to buy is in good condition. A home inspection is
an evaluation of a home's condition by a trained expert. During a home
inspection, a qualified inspector takes an in-depth and fair look at the
property you plan to buy.
The inspector will:
Evaluate the physical condition: the structure, construction and
Find and list items that should be repaired or replaced
Estimate the remaining useful life of major systems (such as electrical,
plumbing, heating, air conditioning), equipment, structure and finishes
The home inspector does not estimate the value of the house. it
is so important for you, the buyer, to get an independent home
inspection. Ask a qualified home inspector to thoroughly examine the
physical condition of your future home and give you the information you
need to make a wise decision.
You will have to pay for the inspection yourself, but it could keep you
from buying a house that will cost you far more in repairs down the
road. If you are satisfied with the results of the inspection, then you
can proceed with your offer.
As the buyer, it is your responsibility to carefully select a qualified
inspector. The following sources may help you find a qualified home
State regulatory authorities. Some states require licensing of home
Professional organizations. Professional organizations may require home
inspectors to pass tests and meet minimum qualifications before becoming
Phone book Yellow Pages. Look under "Building Inspection Service" or
"Home Inspection Service".
The Internet. Search for "Building Inspection Service" or "Home
After the inspection is complete, you will receive a written report of
the home inspector's findings, usually within five to seven days.
Shop for a loan
Save money by doing your homework. Talk to several
lenders, compare interest rates, and negotiate or bargain to get a
better deal. Consider getting pre-approved for a loan
Sign papers -
You're finally ready to go to
"settlement" or "closing." Be sure to read everything before you sign.
In addition to signing a lot of documents, you may need to bring some
extra money for certain closing costs.
Calculate how much money you need
at settlement -
The first page of the HUD-1
Settlement Statement (shown in the sample below) summarizes all the
costs and adjustments for the borrower and seller. Section J is the
summary of the borrower's side of the transaction and Section K is the
summary of the seller's side of the transaction. You may receive a copy
of the seller's side, but it is not required.
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